What Technology Is A Force For Good?

Much of the conversation surrounding emerging or existing technologies often focuses on worst-case uses. But what are some of the ways technology can be used for improving the future?

There have been many warnings surrounding Artificial Intelligence, or A.I. From job replacement, to increased potential for spreading misinformation, to accusations of plagiarism or even intellectual laziness, the dangers are many. Warning bells have come from a variety of different sources, and some predictions are quite bleak, indeed.

Existing technologies can also have negative consequences.

The Internet has only been in use for a few decades, but some blame it for the increased polarization throughout the world. Misinformation and propaganda seem to spread more quickly than facts and logic. Social media platforms keep us in our own echo chambers. It is easier to find and target people for scams, and conspiracy theories abound. It is a far cry from the educational potential the Internet initially had.

In fact, you can go all the way back to the start of the industrial revolution to see the seeds of our current climate crisis. The burning of fossil fuels made production and distribution cheap and easy, but a warming planet is an unintended side effect.

These are all examples of technology introducing or exacerbating problems. However, there is no doubt that our world has used our growing mechanical know-how for good occasionally. Can you think of some examples of positive outcomes that come from science and engineering advances? And in what ways might the emerging technologies transform our world for the better?

Related questions: What role does technology play in your life? Is technology neutral? What skills have you lost due to technology? Why does social media often bring out the worst in us?

2 thoughts on “What Technology Is A Force For Good?”

  1. 1. Many communication instruments (e.g., pencils, printing presses, cameras) help us see and understand the world and each other in a myriad of ways. However, I’m not certain if smartphones are good overall.
    2. Musical instruments can make beautiful noises that may soothe us, call us to action, or help us feel at one with one another (e.g., drums, acoustic and electric guitars, banjos, flutes, and spoons). I don’t know if Kazoos count as good.
    3. Medical imaging technology can help us see injuries and ailments with precision that may lead to (speedier) healing.
    4. Solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal energy collection systems harness renewable energy, reducing the need/desire for more destructive energy and energy collection systems.
    5. Toilets and sewage systems require no explanation for why they belong in the technology for good camp.

  2. Timely question. Today I’m going to see the cardiologist who will look at my heart with an echocardiogram – I had a heart attack a year ago and we’re hoping the heart wasn’t permanently damaged – an artery was blocked and was opened with a stent which involved more advanced medical technology. I’m also receiving medication to prevent a future blockage.

    When my father had a heart attack 60 years ago, none of this was available and he was disabled and died at age 67.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *